When androgen hormones become too high, there is an increase in sebum production (sebum is the oil in your skin that causes acne). So, when your body starts to develop more oil in the skin it can result in breakouts and cysts.
Both rise and fall of estrogen levels can give you a hard blow of deep, cystic acne on your skin. Therefore, your estrogen levels should always be in perfect balance, not too high and not too low.
A range of factors triggers acne, but the main cause is thought to be a rise in androgen levels. Androgen is a type of hormone, the levels of which rise when adolescence begins. In women, it gets converted into estrogen. Rising androgen levels cause the oil glands under the skin to grow.
Hormonal acne is when breakouts form in adulthood that could range from blackheads and whiteheads to painful cysts. Hormonal acne is linked to the overproduction of sebum (an oily substance in skin glands), which clogs pores, leading to pimples.
Cystic acne — the most severe form of acne — occurs when oil and dead skin cells build up deep within hair follicles. The resulting rupture within your skin may form boil-like inflammation.
You can tell if acne is hormonal or bacteria by its severity if flare-ups occur during hormonal imbalances, and whether topical treatments resolve the issues, or if systemic medications are needed.
“Cystic acne is commonly increased in your thirties as this is when the skin is most susceptible to hormonal changes. The hormonal shifts affect the oil glands and sebaceous glands in the skin,” Dr. Purvisha Patel, board certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare adds.
Does progesterone cause acne? Yes, fluctuation in the levels of sex hormones (including progesterone) during your menstrual cycle may also contribute to acne before your period. Progesterone levels rise during the middle of the cycle. This may stimulate the sebaceous glands in the skin.
However, as we had already discussed, higher levels of estrogen relative to progesterone in the body can increase the likelihood of testosterone converting to its more potent form, DHT, leading to a potential increase in hormonal acne breakouts.
The most noticeable manifestation of low progesterone levels is irregular periods and short cycles, but sometimes symptoms like premenstrual spotting may appear. Other symptoms may include mood changes, sleep disturbances, anxiety, and depression. Progesterone affects the regulation of fluid levels in the body.
Women are more prone to acne right before monthly menstrual cycles. Increasing consumption of vitamin A, D, zinc, and vitamin E can help fight acne and lead to clearer skin.
Differences Between Cystic Vs. Hormonal Acne. While hormonal acne is seen in men and women going through significant hormonal changes – aging, pregnancy or even stress – cystic acne occurs at any age as a result of dietary sensitivities and an overproduction of sebum.
If you have a very light period that only lasts a few days and barely requires a pad, this indicates that estrogen may be low. If estrogen is too low to support ovulation, then progesterone will be low as well.
Progesterone levels begin to rise after ovulation through the end of the menstrual cycle. Symptoms of high progesterone are similar to premenstrual syndrome and can include anxiety and agitation, blasting, breast swelling and tenderness, depression, fatigue, and weight gain.
What Happens If We're Deficient? A Vitamin B deficiency can wreak havoc on your skin, causing acne, rashes, dry and flaky skin, cracked lips, and wrinkles. It can also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, personal care products, and other potential aggressors, and can accordingly lead to redness and irritation.
Looking at the playbook which dermatologists use to treat acne, retinoids are the dermatologist's first choice for treatment followed by AZA. Combining both retinol + AZA as a pair to attack acne from multiple fronts will help to stop even the most stubborn hormonal acne.
If you go with the cream option, dermatologists recommend patients use topical retinoids. Retinoids can help rid your skin of dead skin cells that end up clogging your pores. And over time, these creams will help your skin stay clear.